Archive | September, 2011

An Indian summer’s day in Oxford

28 Sep

When the opportunity of escaping the daily grind of applying for jobs I have no prospect of getting  came up, I jumped at the chance. I organised a blissful five-day mini-break daarn Saarf, booked my train tickets and packed enough clothing for about two weeks. Naturally.
After the weathermen on both the TV and the radio raved about unseasonably good weather I snorted into my cup of tea and decided to pack for typical British weather. Cue lots of cardigans, tights and a waterproof coat.
Well it turns out the bods at weather HQ actually got it right. Bugger.
So here I am in the insanely hot and sunny Oxford with a suitcase stuffed full of clothes and a limited choice of outfits. After much umming and aahing I decided on some chinos (nice), my trusty mannish brogues and a light shirt with a giant bow tie attached (you have to see it to appreciate it fully.)
So what am I doing in this neck of the woods? I’m here to see my very good friend Beth who will be starting a Masters here next week. We had a wonderful time exploring the quaint village of Iffley before heading into the fresher-filled city of Oxford.
Although Oxford looks wonderful on-screen (on Morse and Harry Potter to name just two) it has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
I went snap-happy at every beautiful building and architectural quirk I laid eyes on. Here’s just a taster…

Oxford life: impressive buildings and cycling

One thing these Oxfordians are keen on is cycling. They cycle everywhere and split neatly into three categories.

Smug cyclists: They can’t get enough of being king of the road, pavements, pathways, you name it, they think they own it. And they love aggressive bell-ringing.

Terrified cyclists: Pretty much what it says on the tin. They live in Oxford and the surrounding areas, think it’s a good idea to cycle everywhere but are terrified of ending up underneath the wheels of a bus or in the Thames.

Chilled cyclists: Have bike will travel. They fall neatly in between the above categories and take their cycling commute within their stride. And try not to mow people down.

Cycling capital of the country: bikes as far as the eye could see

When we’d finishing dodging smug cyclists and pounding the pavements of the city centre we took a look at the city’s botanical gardens, which although was past its best in terms of blooms (it is autumn after all) was a perfect place to enjoy the plants, trees and fountains it had to offer. After a quick scoot around the shops, footsore and weary, we headed home.
Even though the extensive walking took its toll on my poor feet, all-in-all it was a fabulous day.

Job-hunting? What job-hunting?!

Wannabehack on tour

27 Sep

Well, this morning I relinquished my usual garments of choice (pyjamas obvs) which wasn’t quite as traumatic as I thought it might be.
I put on my new skinny jeans (not as comforting on the waistline as drawstring trousers, but what’s a girl to do?) a t-shirt, and a rather sexy (if I do say so myself… which I do) pair of brown leather brogues. I primped and preened my hair, put on some make-up and was ready to face the world. And why did I do all this? To go and visit some friends from back in the day.
My first port of call is the illustrious city of Oxford. Not somewhere I’ve been before so rather excited not only to visit my rather clever friend who’s studying a masters there, but also to have a nosey around Morse and Lewis’ old stomping ground.
After that I’m off to Romford, Essex, to meet up with another clever cookie of a friend. Other than have a good catch-up we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the TOWIE cast over-acting. Excellent.
So I’ve got a whole five days off from job-hunting, all-day pyjama sessions and an ever-increasing exasperation at the current jobs market. Wahoo!

Working 9-5 (what a way to make a living)

26 Sep

Dolly Parton wasn’t too keen on the daily grind of working 9-5, and as someone who doesn’t have a Monday-Friday job, I’m a mere wannabe hack  after all, I miss out on all the things that folks like Dolly have to do.

One definite advantage Ms Parton might comment on is not being stuck in rush-hour traffic. I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and battle it out whenthe traffic starts jumpin’ on the morning commute.

Fellow commuters are sleep-deprived, cranky at having to be awake at such an ungodly hour and the thought of being squashed together with other people sardine-style.

If you’re lucky enough to sit down this may involve balancing precariously on the edge of a seat while the next person elbows you as they read the Metro. But if you fail to grab the last seat and are left standing (bad times) you may have the delight of becoming intimately acquainted with someone’s armpit. Joy.

Rush hour commute: not quite at Indian levels... yet

Another advantage is you don’t have a nightmare of a boss who never gives you credit for the hard work you do. You don’t clash with work colleagues because, quite simply, you don’t have any.

Flexi-hours come into their own as a wannabe. Lie-in? Go on then. Gourmet-style breakfast instead of a rushed bowl of cornflakes? Of course, you can’t work without eating properly. All day pyjama session? Why the hell not? Sneaky 90-minute lunch break, well, because it’s you….

Sounds like a dream. But in fact like sick days, which you can’t truly appreciate if you really are unwell, being a wannabe instead of an actual player isn’t as good as it sounds.

You may not have to get up really early, but when you do, what do you actually do? Pottering around in your PJs until 11am (or all day, let’s face it we’ve all done it) may feel like a guilty pleasure, but what happens when the novelty wears off? Then it’s time to face up to the fact that you’re a grown woman without a job wearing a novelty, albeit comfortable, elasticated flannel suit. Nice.

Flannel lover: Bridget Jones, champion of pyjama-wearing

As someone who has done the London and Manchester rush-hour commute (often wedged between a Chinese tourist and a greying businessman) I long to get back in the game. When I wasn’t clinging to the edge of a seat or a handrail, I enjoyed people-watching. Whether it was imagining what job they did, coming up with editorial ideas, or having a chat (yes this even happened in London!) more often than not I enjoyed rather than endured the daily commute.

Nightmare boss and annoying colleagues? Bring them on! There’s nothing more demoralising than not speaking to someone in a work capacity for an entire eight hours. You may not like Steph from admin, but at least you can say hello to her, and then talk to Debbie, who you do like…. about Steph.

And if you indulge in huge breakfasts and lengthy lunches everyday, the only change you’ll see is in your waist-band (which you won’t notice straight-away because you’re wearing pyjamas all the time.) It’s a dangerous cycle.

I look forward to the day when the alarm clock screams me awake, I only have time to grab a piece of toast before I head out of the door and I’m in the same boat as a lot of  my friends having a ‘nightmare’ commute. Then I’ll get the chance to spend eight hours with people at work before heading home, kicking my heels off and feeling satisfied at a job well done.

For now it’s job applications, buckets of tea and, of course, pyjamas.

Hello world

25 Sep

Well hello there and welcome to just another wannabe hack!

This blog will detail my day-to-day attempts at getting paid journalism work, (hey, a girl can dream) and also give you, dear reader, a chance to look behind the scenes at what goes on at wannabehack HQ.

So pop the kettle on, grab a brew and take five minutes out of your busy day to see what’s new. Let’s take a journey together and see where we end up.


Tea: The life-blood of all hacks